Tiffany stared down blankly at the engine of her car and cracked her gum with a loud snap. This totally sucked the big one. She didn’t know one part of an engine from the other- what was she, a fucking mechanic? No self-respecting Jersey girl even pumped her own gas, much less studied auto repair. All she knew was that the car wouldn’t start no matter how many times she pounded on the dashboard with her fist and threatened to kick its ass. Her boyfriend, former boyfriend that is, that lying piece of scum Todd, had serviced the car only last week, and promised Tiffany that the rattle under the hood was fixed. Like shit it was fixed.
She’d pulled over on the shoulder fifteen minutes ago to apply more mascara and turned the engine off because the stupid rattle was driving her batshit crazy, not to mention that she could barely hear her Bon Jovi CD over it. Fucking Todd. He’d lied to her. Again. He hadn’t fixed the car at all. Probably too busy getting it on with that little whore Brittany. Seriously.
Well, thank God for her daddy, was all she could say. He’d call the dudes at AA or AAA or whatever the fuck it was, and they'd come tow her. Hopefully send a cute guy with a killer butt. Tiffany reached into the pocket of her purple suede jacket, and fished out her matching purple Razr phone. She flipped it open and tapped her father’s speed dial, noting with a frown a chip in the scarlet polish on one of her nail extensions. Oh great. Just fucking great. As if this day wasn't already bad enough. She’d better call the salon and make an appointment for a manicure after she talked to Daddy.
“The fuck?” Tiffany held the phone away from her ear and stared at it. It was displaying a ‘no reception’ message. That was impossible. This was fucking New Jersey, for fuck's sake. Everyone was connected in Jersey. Well, except the dorks who lived in north Jersey, of course, but everyone knew north Jersey wasn't really part of the state. She tried again but got the same message. Tiffany cracked her gum harder and frowned then quickly smoothed her brow out. Frowning caused wrinkles. Seriously.
She slammed the hood of her fire-engine red Mustang closed, kicked the white-wall tire hard for good measure, then flounced petulantly into the front seat and sat there with her arms crossed, sulking. This did, like, totally suck. Seriously. But someone would probably come along soon and rescue her, Tiffany thought, brightening. She hoped it wouldn’t be some kind of perv, but whatever. A Jersey girl was always prepared. She pulled her over-sized purple leather purse from the passenger seat onto her lap and checked to make sure the stun-gun and pepper spray were at hand. While she was at it, she decided she might as well fluff out her hair with her pick, add more spray, and finish touching up her make-up before it got too dark to see. You never knew who might show up…
But the minutes ticked past, and no one showed up, and it was getting really dark now and cold as the inside of a fucking meat locker. Tiffany began to regret wearing just a red leather miniskirt and purple lace-trimmed bustier even though everyone said they made her look like Britney-fucking-Spears’s twin sister. Only hotter. Seriously.
She replenished her Juicy Fruit, threw the crumpled foil wrapper onto the pile on the floor, and sat cracking the chewing gum meditatively, wondering what she should do. And then she saw it, a light gleaming in the trees to her right. Fuckin’ A! She thought jubilantly, pumping her fist. Someone actually lived in this godforsaken backwater a million miles from the nearest strip mall. One of those weird-ass Pineys, no doubt, but even they had to have telephones, fergawdsake. She could call Daddy from there.
Tiffany grabbed her purse and climbed out of the Mustang. After locking the door, she slung the strap of her purse over her shoulder and headed into the woods, tottering through the sand in her skin-tight miniskirt and high-heeled boots. What was with this sand shit, anyway? Like, if she'd wanted to go to the shore, she'd have gone to the shore. Doh.
As she pushed and shoved her way through the dense trees and prickly undergrowth, she moaned in dismay. Her purple suede boots were gonna be ruined for sure, and she’d just bought them at the Cherry Hill Macy's two days ago- for $250. Fucking pine trees and their fucking sap. And what the fuck was with the light, anyway? The stupid thing seemed to be retreating instead of getting closer.
Feeling increasingly annoyed, Tiffany finally came to a halt in a small clearing, and shoved a hank of lacquer-stiff hair out of her narrowed eyes. The only sounds were the whistling of the wind in the trees and the snapping of her Juicy Fruit. She couldn't even see the fucking light now.
“Hey! Anyone out there?” she yelled. To her delight, a faint crashing noise came in response. Sweet! Someone was coming. “Yo, I’m over here!”
She hastily straightened her skirt, wet her lips and waited for her rescuer to arrive.
The crashing noises grew louder and closer, and suddenly a shriek rent the night air, cutting through it like a knife. “Oh...My...Gawd!” Tiffany gasped. What the fuck was the person listening to anyway, Norwegian Death Metal? It made her head ache, like someone was stabbing it with an ice pick. “Jesus, turn it down, wouldja?”
And then, out of the darkness, loomed a giant creature with vast bat wings, eyes like burning coals and long, wickedly sharp curved claws that glinted in the starlight. It shrieked and gibbered and leaped out of the bushes to confront her, thrashing its forked tail menacingly.
Getouttahere! was Tiffany's first reaction. It was, like, the fucking Jersey Devil himself. He really did exist, after all, and he looked like he was having pretty much the same kind of shitty day she was.
But Tiffany honestly didn't give a rat's ass what kind of day the Devil was having. She was tired, cold, and sore. She had PMS and her gum tasted like wet cardboard. Her expensive new boots and favorite jacket were ruined, and her hair was a total rat’s nest. Seriously.
She was, to put it mildly, pissed off. Like, majorly pissed off.
“Dude, no offense, but I'm in no mood for your shit,” Tiffany stated flatly. She whipped out the pepper spray, and nailed the Devil squarely in the eyes then followed it up with a couple of well-placed hits with the stun gun, laying the sucker out cold, sprawled flat on his back. His leathery wings twitched feebly in the sand a few times and then stilled.
Tiffany stuffed the stun gun and pepper spray back in her shoulder bag. Well, that’d teach the sonovabitch to go messing with a PMS-ing, pissed-off Jersey girl. She hiked the bag higher up on her shoulder and stalked back the way she’d come. Fuck it. She’d had it with these woods. Besides, she was sure that if she pounded on the dashboard a few more times, the Mustang would start. That trick had always worked in the past. Seriously.
She didn’t notice a glimmer of white just on the other side of the clearing.
The White Stag stared in amazement at his mortal Enemy, lying unconscious in the starlight. It was an impressive sight. Whoever that girl was, she was certainly brave and resourceful, he thought with admiration. He’d never before been Called and arrived to find his services unnecessary.
With a toss of his antlered head, the stag turned and bounded away, leaping lightly over fallen trees, heading home to his cabin deep in the pines.
Looked like he and Sean would have an early night of it after all. Seriously.